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Environmental Biotechnology - PDF

Added on - 31 May 2021

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Algal Biofuels1Student NameEnvironmental BiotechnologyAlgal BiofuelsInstructorUniversityDate
Algal Biofuels2Algal biofuel is basically a substitute for liquefied fossil fuels which utilizes algae. It isimportant to notethatthe algaeproduces oils which are rich in energy. Algal oils are alternativesto the ordinary biofuel sources, for instance, sugarcane and corn. Algae fuel similar to fossil fuelusually release carbon dioxide when they are burnt. On the other hand, algae fuel in comparisonto fossil fuel releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which has been recently removed.Additionally, this is done through photosynthesis mostly as the algae grow. The growth of algaefuel is simple and more so advantageous(Georgianna and Mayfield, 2012, 329). Algae growthdoes not contaminate freshwater sources. Itis less harmful to the environment and is producibleusing waste or saline water.There are different chemical processes involved in the production of algal biofuels.Different organic solvents are utilized in extracting lipids. Chloroform and methanol are utilizedin extracting oils from algae. The use of the chemicals is still utilized in estimating algal oilsspectrophotometrically. It is easy and faster to use the chemicals, especially when handling awide variety of samples(Georgianna and Mayfield, 2012, 329). Likewise, adding some aceticacid during the extraction process leads to extraction of more acidic phospholipids.Consequently, other chemical solvents such as butanol, isopropanol, ethanol, and hexane areessential in the production of algal biofuels.Algal biofuels are produced using two methods namely photo-bioreactors and racewaypond method. A raceway pond is an oval loop which is about 0.5m deep. It is well aerated andhas a wheel that circulates water hence preventing sedimentation. Raceway ponds are usuallyshallow because self-shading and optical absorption by algal cells hinder penetration of lightthrough the algal broth(Singh, Nigam and Murphy, 2011, 329). In photo-bioreactors, a culturemedium is basically contained in transparent plates. The micro-algal broth is then circulated from
Algal Biofuels3a reservoir. Photo-bioreactors enable algal culture environment control although they are costlycompared to raceway ponds.Algae produce both primary and secondary biofuels. Primary biofuels entail mostlynaturally produced biofuels. Furthermore, the natural biofuel is produced from animal waste,landfill gas, firewood, and crop residue. Secondary biofuels are categorized into first, second andthird generation biofuels(Chisti and Yan, 2011, 43). First generation biofuels include bioethanolwhich is produced oilseeds, corn, barley, wheat, animal fat, sugarcane, potato, beef, andsunflower. Second generation biofuels are biodiesel and bioethanol produced from wood, grass,and cassava. Moreover, third generation biofuels are usually biodiesel which is produced frommicrobes and microalgae.The production of third generation biofuels is being encouraged because is it morebeneficial than that of the other generations. The production of first-generation biofuelsnecessitates the utilization of more agricultural land leaving less land for animal and human foodproduction. Furthermore, it also leads to environmental degradation(Singh and Olsen, 2011,3548). In the same token, the production process of second-generation biofuels needssophisticated and expensive technologies hence making it inappropriate for profitablecommercial production. On the contrary, the advantages involved in producing third generationbiofuels especially microalgae overcomes that of the other two generations(Craggs et al, 2011,663). Microalgae have the ability to reduce greenhouse gases, produces more fats and has afaster growth rate. It grows on saline water and non-arable land. Additionally, it provides diverserenewable biofuels including biodiesel, bio-hydrogen, and methane.Algal biofuel has a great potential to provide clean energy. Nevertheless, there exist someshortcomings which need immediate response hence necessitating that cost-benefit analysis is
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